Route Breakdown: Outs

Who ran the most out routes in 2014 and who did the most damage on them? Steve Palazzolo offers a look.

| 2 years ago

Route Breakdown: Outs

routes-outIn an effort to add to the reams of data that we already collect at PFF, we took the passing game to a whole new level in 2013.

Instead of just tracking each receiver’s targeted route, we went ahead and charted every route run on every pass play in the NFL and continued this work in 2014. We can now tell you how often each receiver ran a particular route, at which depth he ran it, and whether or not he was targeted.

This data becomes quite useful when analyzing each receiver’s role, but it’s also handy when determining passing concepts for each team. The ante was upped further this past season as we added exact WR splits as well as shifts in motions to our charting data. We now have the data to break down how often teams run their favorite plays, and the corresponding tendencies that come with them.

How often did Peyton Manning run his staple “levels” concept? How often did Chip Kelly have a built in bubble screen for his slot receivers? Which team’s receivers run the deepest routes? This is the type of data that can only be found in the PFF database, and it’s a big reason why NFL teams are adding our information into their weekly scouting reports.

While much of this data remains exclusive for NFL team usage, we’re pulling back the curtain to show some of the passing game trends, starting on a route-by-route basis.

Here’s a look at the out route.

Route Overview


Our route charting is extremely detailed, but for the sake of this exercise, routes will be sorted into the basic families above. So while we can tell you if a wide receiver’s “go” route had an inside or an outside release, or if it was run up the seam or with a back shoulder throw, all of these unique routes will be lumped into the “go” route category for simplicity sake.

The Out Route

The out route can be run at varying depths, from the 5-yard speed out to the 15-yard deep out. All of the various route depths will be included in this breakdown and short double moves that end in out routes are also included.


out routes– Not only did Golden Tate run the most out routes, but they made up 18.6% of his total routes, the highest percentage in the league.

– We consolidated all positions for this study so a number of tight ends make the list. The Panthers often isolated Greg Olsen on one side and had him run the out route, one of the staples of their offense.

– Delanie Walker ranked fourth with 96 out routes, but his 20 targets only tied him for 18th.


out tgts– Julian Edelman led all receivers in targets (46), receptions (33), and yards (301) on out routes as they made up 15.8% of his total routes, second-highest in the league behind Tate.

– Both top Broncos receivers, Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, make the list; targeted on 30 and 24 out routes, respectively.

– Cole Beasley finished with 20 total targets, and he 29.9% of his targets came on out routes, the highest percentage in the league.


out yds– Edelman narrowly edged Antonio Brown and Randall Cobb in total yardage, though Brown averaged 4.4 yards per route, good for second in the league.

– Olsen led all tight ends and ranked fourth overall with 232 yards while his 21 receptions ranked third.

– Cobb caught 79.2% of his out route targets, good for fourth among all receivers with at least 10 receptions on outs.


out yprr– Jeremy Maclin picked up his 206 yards on only 11 receptions and 44 routes.

– Calvin Johnson was right behind him with 185 yards on 11 receptions and 43 routes.

– Running back Justin Forsett caught eight passes for 107 yards when running out routes, only including those in which he was lined up out wide or in the slot.



Follow Steve on Twitter: @PFF_Steve


| Senior Analyst

Steve is a senior analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has been featured on ESPN Insider, NBC Sports, and 120 Sports.

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